Barbara de Groot died peacefully in her home on Nov. 15 of complications related to Parkinson’s disease. The daughter of Lillian and Sol Brenner, Barbara was born on June 29, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York. She earned her B.A. from Hunter College and MFA from Trinity College in Washington, D.C. She began her art education under the direction of Leon Friend, the chairman of the art department at Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn, New York. She attended the Brooklyn Museum of Art School during her high school years where she studied with Isaac Soyer, one of three talented artist brothers who became known for figurative painting. At Hunter College she learned basic printmaking with noted printmaker Gabor Peterdi, painting with William Baziotes and Raymond Parker.
Barbara was foremost a devoted and loving mother to David de Groot, who resides in San Francisco, and Marc de Groot (deceased), and a soul mate and life companion to her adored and adoring husband, Louis de Groot, to whom she was married for 59 years. Before settling in Berkeley, California, Barbara and Louis lived in New York City, the Netherlands, upstate New York and, for two extended periods, in Paris, France.
Barbara studied painting at the Vrije Academie in The Hague. She attended the Académie Goetz in the Montparnasse district of Paris, where she learned many of her special printmaking skills. She also studied printmaking with Ricardo Licata, an instructor from the École des Beaux-Arts. Barbara’s artistic creations are the means by which she met her great personal need to express emotions about the human condition, e.g. racial inequality, poverty, hunger, personal relationships, persecution and prejudice. Themes with a social conscience were most endearing to her.
Reflecting on the loss of almost all of her father’s immediate family in the Holocaust, she created the Holocaust series of monotypes which she donated to the Holocaust Center of Northern California and which are on permanent display at the Helen and Joe Farkas Center of Mercy High School in San Francisco. Her work is in many private collections, has appeared in many exhibits in various galleries here and abroad, and is archived in the Women’s Museum and the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.
Barbara was licensed to teach art in the New York City and New York state high schools. After earning her credential to teach art in California community colleges and adult-education schools, she enjoyed teaching in senior centers and nursing homes. Locally, she showed with the San Francisco Women Artists in San Francisco, where she received several merit awards, with Expressions Gallery in Berkeley, with the California Society of Printmakers and the Marin Society of Artists, where she also earned merit awards. She exhibited her work at, among others, the Architects’ Building, Coop Gallery on Union Street and Crown Zellerbach Building in San Francisco.
In Paris, Barbara’s work was exhibited at numerous galleries and salons, including the Galerie Raymond Duncan, Galerie Jacques Massol, La Mandragore Internationale Galerie D’Art, the Salon d’Automne and Salon de la Jeune Peinture at the Grand Palais, Salon du Dix au Quinze at the Mairie du 4ème Arrondissement de Paris (invitational), and the 100ème Salon de l’Union des Femmes Peintres et Sculpteurs at the Musée du Luxembourg.
Barbara is survived by her husband Louis and son David, her brother Philip Brenner and wife (Betsy Vieth), her niece Liliana Martinez and husband (Marcos Sosa), her nephew Isaac Brenner, her grandnephew Teo Sosa, her cousins Philip Chomak and wife (Joan), Ezra Chomak, Anita Moyal and husband (Howard), Heidi Karagianis and husband (Tracy), David Topper and wife (Sharon), Emily Chomak, Sheryl Schwartz and husband (Sid), Debra Chomak, and Ira Volodarsky and husband (Misha).
Heinz Frankenstein passed away at the age of 93 surrounded by his family on Nov. 12, 2015.
Born in 1922 in Swinemünde, Germany, Heinz fled the Nazis with his parents and older sister, Carla, to arrive in Shanghai, China, in 1939. Having apprenticed as a baker in Germany, Heinz carried on his trade in Shanghai and courted a local schoolteacher, Ingeborg “Inge” Kaufman, with special deliveries of cookies and cake. Heinz and Inge married in 1946. When the Communists rose to power in China, Heinz and his young bride fled yet again, to the United States.
Arriving in San Francisco, California, in 1948, Heinz and Inge fell in love with The City and made it their home. Heinz worked for local bakeshops before partnering with Inge to acquire and operate Ahrens Bakery, a San Francisco institution on Van Ness and Jackson, for 28 years.
During the course of their nearly 60-year marriage, Heinz and Inge devoted themselves to a family that includes daughters Susan (John) Dean and the late Ruth Davis; grandchildren Kim (Joseph), Scott (Megan), Megan (Brett), Michael (Allison) and Melissa; great-grandchildren Gabriel, Luke, Sam, Hudson and Sawyer; niece Judy Kolb; and late nephew Ernie Fleischer. Inge passed away in 2006.
For the last 17 years, Heinz lived a full and active life in the heart of San Francisco. Much as he escaped the Nazis and the Communists, so too did he manage to evade seemingly every conceivable challenge of aging. Heinz maintained an inspired life on the town — patronizing the fine arts, playing bridge, driving, dining, oil painting, swimming and affably making wisecracks with his family until the bittersweet end.
Services were held at Sinai Memorial Chapel. In lieu of flowers, please send donations in Heinz’s honor to Jewish Family and Children’s Services of San Francisco, the Jewish Home of San Francisco or Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Israel.
Sinai Memorial Chapel
Gerda S. Koppel passed away at the age of 90 on Nov. 6, surrounded by family.
She was born in Germany in 1924 to Gustav and Lilli (Freudenheim) Gumpel. Her family moved in 1937 to San Francisco where she attended Lowell High School. While living at the A.E. Phi Sorority at U.C. Berkeley, she met her future husband, Matthew Koppel. They raised their three children in Millbrae, where Gerda lived for over 50 years. Later in life she moved to a senior facility in Saratoga.
She worked on and off as a legal secretary. As a homemaker, she worked diligently, cooked well and provided tremendous support to her children.
Gerda enjoyed sports including horseback riding, swimming, skiing, waterskiing, tennis, golf and lawn bowling. A member of the Millbrae Racquet Club, she was a nationally ranked tennis player.
She was a woman of many talents. She spoke English, German, French and Spanish; she played the piano and accordion; and she used her computer and cellphone until she was 90.
She assisted in the efforts of various philanthropic organizations, including Hadassah and the Children’s Home Society.
After her husband passed away in 1987, she started to travel internationally, to Europe (where she hiked in the Alps), the Middle East and Tahiti.
Gerda, an avid bridge player later in life, participated in bridge groups in San Mateo and San Jose.
Notable activities included walking across the Golden Gate Bridge on opening day, May 27, 1937; horseback riding in a parade on Treasure Island during the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939; and serving as the commencement speaker at her Lowell High School graduation ceremony.
Gerda was a loving mother and grandmother. She was gracious and humble, active, elegant and fearless. She was a champion at heart, not just on the court or at the bridge table. Her family loved her dearly. Though her sun has set, it is impossible to forget its light and all it has offered. She will be greatly missed by family and friends.
Gerda was predeceased by her parents, Lilli and Gustav Gumpel, her husband, Matt Koppel, and her brother Hank Gumpel.
She is survived by her children Karen Bergen (Ira Greenberg) of Sunnyvale, Gary Koppel of Oakley and Roger Koppel (Zerlyn Ladua) of Alameda; by her grandchildren Benjamin Bergen (Frances Ajo) of San Diego, Joshua Bergen (Seila Pineda Sanchez) of Spain, Ray Koppel of Alameda and Ross Koppel of Alameda; by her great-grandchildren Eva Bergen Pineda and Matthew Ajo Bergen; by her sister-in-law Jene Gumpel of Washington; and by nine nephews and nieces and their families around the country.
Services were held at Home of Peace Cemetery in Colma. Contributions in her memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, Hadassah or the charity of your choice.
Sinai Memorial Chapel